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Distribution: Ubuntu 11.4,DD-WRT micro plus ssh,lfs-6.6,Fedora 15,Fedora 16
i would say it would work fine with the exception of adding multiple nics to the laptop, i would say it would probably be cheaper to get a second hand desktop, add a nic and install smoothwall on that, or get a linksys wrt-54g (or any router compatible with dd-wrt) and install dd-wrt or some other linux based firmware if you want smoothwall like functionality for cheap.
but then again i suppose it all depends on your purpose
Why? There's no real difference between laptops & desktops.
Not true. Typically laptop hardware is designed with different aspects in mind than desktops. They typically run quite a bit hotter than a desktop, drives and such are usually at lower rpm, they usually don't have the life cycle of a desktop, driver development tends to lag a bit compared to desktops, and I've yet to see a laptop nic perform consistency as well as a pc nic (not that they're inadaquete mind, just not as good as a desktop nic usually), the bus is usually smaller, etc, etc, etc. They make crappy network gear because they're just not designed for that task.
They're just not meant to sit, closed, running day in day out.
Originally Posted by Mr. Alex
My purpose is extremely silent computer. Laptop is appropriate for that.
So is a desktop without fans... the desktop is also cheaper and smaller if you make it headless. Before I would suggest a laptop I'd suggest a mac mini reinstalled with whatever software you like.
There is a difference between "good performance" in networking gear and "good performance" in gaming hardware. Networking is not a processor intensive task typically unless you're pushing massive amounts of traffic across it. You could probably an old Pentium 1/2 and be fine. That's faster than my router which handles a 17gb downstream on bit torrent. really before a laptop though... consider a mac mini before a laptop though, it's hardware is far more than adequate and it's half the price.
Above and beyond that, you need to look into hardware a bit more if you don't think passive cooling can work. People have been building silent and fanless (or silent with fans, yes it is possible) htpc's for years now... and that's far more processor and video intensive than a networking device.